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AFD's Rise: The Historical Significance and Impact on German Politics

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Germanys newest right-wing party, Alternative fr Deutschland AfD, burst on to Germanys political stage in 2013 and has achieved more success than any German right-wing party since 1949. The resurgence of the German right wing has caused concern for many who still remember the legacy of National Socialism, and the wave of right-wing populism that has swept Europe has exacerbated those fears. Is AfDs rise, although significant, really a threat to the established German political order Can AfD really influence German politics and foreign policy These questions are answered by placing AfDs rise into the historical context of Germanys farright wing since 1949. The analysis of all right-wing parties since 1949, to include the AfD, reveals key continuities in the German extreme right. These continuities have contributed to the inability of the far right to gain political representation at the national level or to sustain long-term success at the state level. The analysis indicates that AfD is simply the latest iteration, or fifth wave, of the German extreme right since 1949, and is likely to fail just like all its predecessors. Although AfDs long-term success is unlikely, its influence on contemporary German politics has been substantial. AfDs political activism has called Merkels rule into question, potentially creating the possibility for new coalitions that will shift political power toward the center-left.

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  • Government and Political Science

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